§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement concerning the entitlement of a person to the long-term rate of supplementary benefit when incapacity for work follows a period of at least a year in which the person has been required to sign only quarterly; and if he has any plans to amend the regulations concerned.
§ Mrs. Chalker
After the supplementary benefit officer has decided that a claimant has no prospect of further employment because of physical or mental disability, the claimant is no longer subject to the requirement to register for work as a condition for receiving benefit. The claimant then qualifies for the long-term rate of benefit after 52 weeks in receipt of the ordinary rate of benefit on this basis, save that previous periods when he was authorised to attend an unemployment benefit office quarterly are counted towards this qualifying period. We have no plans to change this provision.
§ Mr. Stoddart
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on regulation 10(1)(a) of the Supplementary Benefit (Single Payment) Regulations, further to his speech on 18 February, Official Report, cols. 497–500.
§ Mr. Rossi
As I indicated in the Adjournment debate on 18 February, we have broadly adopted the Supplementary Benefits Commission's approach in helping with the cost of furniture and household equipment. Our aim is to help those in real need but not to give substantial assistance at the taxpayer's expense to some who may be on benefit for only a short period, whilst others on similar incomes from full-time work get no help at all. We think the present balance of the regulations is about right and the chief supplementary benefits officer has given guidance to supplementary benefit officers on their interpretation which will be published in the forthcoming "S" manual. We shall be studying very closely the effects of these provisions in the light of this guidance to ascertain whether the policy is operating satisfactorily.